Thailand mulls tripling visa-free stay for European visitors to 90 days

By Hoang Phong   November 19, 2023 | 06:15 pm PT
Thailand mulls tripling visa-free stay for European visitors to 90 days
Tourists on a beach in Phuket, Thailand, March 10, 2020. Photo by Reuters
The Thai government plans to triple the duration of visa-free stays for European tourists to 90 days as it seeks to make up for the dearth of Chinese visitors.

The government is considering a proposal to let tourists from some European countries stay for 90 days without a visa, Prommin Lertsuridej, a top aide to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post.

Last week the Ministry of Tourism and Sports had said it would urge the cabinet to lengthen the visa exemption period for some nationalities to persuade them to stay longer.

In the first phase, the extension will cover mainly countries in and around Europe such as the U.K., Germany, Scandinavian nations, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, according to The Nation.

Europeans account for 20% of foreign tourists and are the second largest group after Asians.

Last year they spent an average of 18.55 nights per person in Thailand, spending an average of 66,000 baht per trip, tourism minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol said, local media reported.

This year their spending has increased to 80,000 baht.

This year Thailand has received 23.2 million foreign tourists as against the full-year target of 25 million.

It currently waives visa requirements for travelers from China, Kazakhstan, India, and Taiwan.

It had hoped to attract 4.4 million tourists from China this year but so far only around 2.9 million have come.

Chinese tourists are keeping away from Thailand following a recent shooting that killed two foreigners.

In 2019 they had accounted for 11 million out of a record 39.9 million visitors.

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